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nevver:

Happy Labor Day

Never forget that people died for the worker’s rights we enjoy today. And if, for even a moment, you think we don’t need them now, just think about the employers who short their workers by one hour so they don’t have to offer health insurance. Think of the companies that fight the idea of giving their workers a living wage. Think of Walmart saying that their workers should apply for government assistance if they can’t make it on their shitty salaries.

My sister and I both did the same job—processing insurance claims—for different companies. Even though my job required more knowledge, she was getting a significantly larger paycheck because she was union. It’s not just industrial or service workers who benefit from strong unions.

Happy Labor Day!

20aliens:

The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams by Alessandra Sanguinetti

I spent my childhood summers at my father’s farm outside Buenos Aires. After the long highway drive and dusty dirt road, as soon as we arrived, I would run to the front of the car and begin the delicate process of unsticking the crushed butterflies from the still hot radiator. Most of them would be terminal, but one or two would cling to my finger, slowly regain center, revive and eventually fly away, always leaving behind some dust from their wings. 

I have two older sisters, but when I was nine, they were teenagers, existing in another dimension, so I would wander pretty much alone around the corrals, the sheds and the fields, talking to the horses and the cows, feeling sad for the perpetually frightened sheep, following my father as he made his rounds, chatting with the foreman’s wife Isabel, looking for snake skins on tree branches, turning beetles right side up, and flying kites made from newspapers.  In the evenings I cut up old New Yorker magazines my mother brought back from her trips to the US, and with those pictures I illustrated my own journal, “The Bumble Bee”, which I would sell to my parents for one peso.

At night we would set up chairs outside and wait impatiently for UFOs to appear, and count falling stars. The only trips we would take were to Doña Blanca’s place, where my father would bring tires to be fixed, and buy eggs, cheese and homemade jam. She had packs of dogs and puppies that would greet us jumping and clawing; sheep, goats, rabbits, ponies roamed loose, and heaps of animal bones, scrap metal, and old furniture were all in chaotic display. In the country, most places go from a dull quietness to an eruption of movement and noise when visitors arrive,  so I assumed back then that at Doña Blanca’s something out of the ordinary was always about to happen.

My parents sold that farm in 1981, and it would be a long time until I returned to the countryside. When I did, it was to his new smaller farm to the south of Buenos Aires, and I was older, just back from a year studying photography in New York.  One day my father took me along for a short drive to have someone fix his broken windmill pump. We drove a few kilometers and slowed down near a group of trees. A pack of wild looking dogs rushed out,  jumping and scratching at the pick-up truck doors, and a round woman opened a flimsy wire gate and walked towards us, both smiling and shrieking at the dogs to shut up.  It was Juana.  I spent the next few years visiting Juana constantly, photographing her animals and listening to her tales of days long gone,  her musings on life and on the Bible. She would tell me all her animals’ names, their histories, and, while gutting a freshly killed boar that she had raised, insisted that if you paid enough attention to animals you would be able to understand and see that each one is singular. 

There were always many visitors at Juana’s, and most of them would sit silently sipping mate and leave without saying a word. Once every couple of hours a car would drive past,  or a man on horseback would ride by and tip his hat in salutation. The most regular visitors were her grown daughters Pachi and Chicha, who lived nearby with their own families. They’d come over with their youngest daughters Belinda and Guillermina, and chat as they prepared sweet fried bread and sipped mate. Beli and Guille were always running, climbing, chasing chickens and rabbits. Sometimes I’d take their picture just so they’d leave me alone and stop scaring the animals away, but mostly I would shoo them out of the frame.  I was indifferent to them until the summer of 1999, when I found myself spending almost everyday with them. They were nine and ten years old then, and one day, instead of asking them to move aside, I let them stay.

kindaoffkilter:

confessionsofaformerteenybopper:

Dolly Parton | ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Dolly Parton is just an amazing woman—her accessories might be false, and her shoes might be plastic, but that woman is pure gold! 

She has her own charity, Imagination Library, that provides books to preschool children regardless of their family income to promote literacy by getting kids excited about reading. It’s been replicated throughout the States and even in other countries!

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

quoms:

cupiscent:

petermorwood:

ancientpanoply:

A video made for the Museum of Cluny, and its “The Sword: Uses, Myths and Symbols” exhibit. It tries to dispel some of the beliefs that are still prevalent today about the weight and mobility of fighters in plate armor and show some of the techniques used in combat against armored opponents

I’m always pleased to see videos like this. It’s as if people won’t believe unless they’re shown (and there are always some who go “ah, yes, well, in aluminium stage armour it’s easy.”)

Well, the Museum Cluny video, like the Royal Armoury demo team, uses real steel armour: those two pictures at the start show the originals; the video uses reproductions because no curator will let someone take two exhibits from his museum and roll them around on flagstones. Mike Loades in the UK has been doing similar armour demonstrations for years, as has Tobias Capwell of the Wallace Collection. Eventually the old “clunky, immobile, in with a wrench, out with a can-opener” image of plate armour will go away – but I won’t hold my breath. (That shade of purple isn’t a good complexion anyway…)

Even the faster demonstrations of these combat techniques are still dialled back to about half speed. Try to visualise how much quicker and more brutal this would be if the two fighters meant business, when the first rule was Do It To Him As Quickly As Possible Before He Does It To You.

Writer and swordsman Guy Windsor writes about doing motion-capture work for a computer game; his completely authentic techniques couldn’t be used because they were so small, fast and economical. The game needed big swashing movements because the real thing looked unrealistic, too insignificant to be effective…

You won’t see a “killing fight” (full speed, full power, full intent) recreated very often, either on documentaries or in museum exhibitions, because it’s very, very dangerous for (when you think about it) obvious reasons. These techniques from 600-year-old fight manuals were how men in armour maimed and killed other men in armour - and since they’re the original material, not a re-interpretation after 600 years of being diluted down to sport-safe levels, the techniques will still maim and kill men in armour. Even a blunt “safe” sword is pointed enough (first demo on the video, 1:54-59) to go into a helmet’s eye-slot and through the skull inside…

But if you’re lucky enough to see a full-speed demo between fighters in real armour using wasters (wooden practice swords), be prepared to pick your jaw up from the floor. It is awesome. And also as scary as hell.

Comments on comments:

"Pretty much proof positive that the people who claim that skimpy female fantasy armor is for increased maneuverability don’t know what they’re talking about."

They know exactly what they’re talking about. They want to see T&A on fantasy game and book covers, and since they don’t have the balls to be honest about it, this is their excuse.

It amazes me that the old saws about Western armour and techniques are still going about, because surely two minutes’ thought would let you know that of course knights had to be able to get up off the ground…  Europeans were wearing armour for centuries, why wouldn’t they develop techniques of fighting in it?

It’s easier to laugh (do the same people laugh about samurai?) and repeat what “everyone knows about armour" than it is to waste that two minutes thought. Thinking might reveal something to mess with set opinions, and that would be annoying…

Biggest pet peeve: People commenting on the weight and shape of armour restricting mobility…

As before - “everybody knows" that European armour is massive and clunky because that’s what "everybody knows.” God forbid they should ever apply the “if it was so useless then why was it used" logic to anything. Because then they might realise that what "everybody knows" is wrong.

I’m going off to (not) hold my breath for a while… :-P

I saw this video in the fascinating special exhibit at Cluny last time we were in Paris. So pleased to be able to have it on tap, because it was most excellent.

image

As previously mentioned, the most important factors in considering armor design for a character are:

  • What does it have to protect them against?
  • What do they have to be able to do?
  • What is available?

These suits are show casing some great armor made for a person who needs to protect themselves against swords and arrows, fight and lead troops on the battlefield and had access to a lot of money and an skilled armorer.  Unsurprisingly, they are super practical for their intended purpose.

The argument that they might wanted to trade off protection for a little more speed doesn’t hold up because once these guys got into battle it was simply ridiculous to think they’d be able to keep track everywhere an attack might come from.

Basically if you want to survive a battle, you want to be as well protected as possible, and as that video shows: The upper limit to how well protected you can be and still move freely is pretty damn high!

- wincenworks

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